Australian Bancroft charged with altering ball’s condition

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Cape Town, March 24 (IANS) Australian fielder Cameron Bancroft on Saturday said that he has been charged with attempting to change the condition of the ball during their third Test against South Africa here on Saturday.

Bancroft was captured putting a yellow object down the front of his pants moments before the umpires seemingly inquired what was in the fielder’s pockets, according to Cricket Australia (CA) website.

Footage later broadcast showed Bancroft rubbing the ball and then seemingly putting an object back in his pocket. Bancroft admitted that the object used was a yellow tape.

“We just had discussions with the match officials. I’ve been charged with attempting to change the condition of the ball,” Bancroft was quoted as saying by CA Twitter handle.

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“I want to be here because I’m accountable for my actions. I’ve got to live with the consequences and the damage to my reputation.”

Ball tampering is a Level 2 offence in the ICC Code of Conduct, which carries a maximum 100 per cent fine and up to four demerit points, which equates to a one-Test suspension.

Australian captain Steven Smith apologised for the incident. “We spoke about it and thought it was a possible way to get an advantage. The leadership group knew about it. I’m not proud of it.

“The coaches weren’t involved. It won’t happen ever again under my leadership. It’s a poor reflection on everyone in that dressing room. If we weren’t caught, I’d still feel bad about it,” he said.

Meanwhile, controversies in the tour continued as CA chief executive James Sutherland has called for zero tolerance to anti-social behaviour by fans following the offensive comments made towards the Australians by members of the Cape Town crowd.

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Australia coach Darren Lehmann on Friday confirmed CA had lodged an official complaint to Cricket South Africa in relation to “disgraceful” comments made by Newlands spectators that targeted the touring players’ wives and families.

“We are extremely disappointed that a small number of fans have directed such offensive and inappropriate behaviour towards our players and members of their families,” Sutherland said in a statement.

“Our Chairman David Peever, who is in Cape Town, has taken the matter up directly with relevant CSA officials, including President Chris Nenzani,” he added.

“We acknowledge that CSA is taking steps to ensure incidents like those yesterday are not repeated and we have encouraged the strongest possible action in response to such behaviour.”

–IANS

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